Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Ward

R.I.P. John Carpenter. Or rather, rest in peace John Carpenter's CAREER. Years and years ago John Carpenter made Ghosts of Mars. Awful. Just awful. Okay, maybe it was just a poor script choice for him. Whatever. Every director gets them. But USUALLY a director hops back on the wagon and makes a good film after that. Even if they make another shitty film even after hopping back on. And I can gladly say that Carpenter hasn't taken George Romero's route. George Romero is WAY past the point of no return. Almost so far that if he was announced "dead" tomorrow, I would say, "They're just releasing it?". But Im not going to go that far since he did create 3 of THEE greatest horror films to ever exist, and from what i've heard, Romero is a really nice guy, so I he doesnt deserve ANY bad words, PERSONALLY. But the man can't make a film worth sloth shit anymore. Ive said it before... All of Romero's fans should invest in putting ole' George in a home. And sadly, I think Carpenter might be next. Except... Carpenter SEEMS sensible enough to realize, "Wow, I dont make good movies anymore...".

So... John Carpenter. The man who made Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween, Escape from New York, The Thing, Big Trouble In Little China, Prince of Darkness, and so many more, he finally lost his marbles with The Ward. And you know what? It's not as bad as you're expecting. But it's not good. And I guess as a huge Carpenter fan, it could be worse. But in the end, the film just looks like a huge tombstone with his career engraved.

Okay, the film starts off pretty good. An okay set-up, a really cool title card, and some pretty cool credits (the classic Carpenter font, for those of you who are pathetic enough to know what I mean). And really, for the first 15-20 minutes, it's pretty okay. Nothing "FUCK YES"-worthy, but good nonetheless. Then the girls start "acting". Alright, horror movies and females acting... USUALLY the same outcome. A train wreck. But in something as non-over-the-top as this? Get SOME decent actors.

So as the movie "progresses" (to progress usually means to get better [in this case, it doesnt]), the same tricks are used. Something weird happens at night, it pans to the girls face, and it fades to the next day. That happens about 3 or 4 times. And it's not as if there are any pieces left for us to pick up or follow. It's just being mysterious for the hell of it. It wasn't until a couple minutes later where you say, "Wow...". And no, not that "Wow..." where you think something's going to happen. It's that "Wow..." where you realize you've seen this movie before. Not only that, but done better. It was called Shutter Island. Seriously, the movie was Shutter Island with a fraction of the budget. And seriously, when you pit John Carpenter against Martin Scorcese it's a hard battle for me. I LOVE both. I enjoy Carpenter's best films over Scorcese's best, but the difference between those two, is that Scorcese is so much more consistent throughout each and EVERY decade.

Moving on as to why The Ward is a lame chapter in Carpenter's career. He really needs to edit from the past while he creates in the future. And what I mean by that is, a lot of the times, the edits and sound design were really bringing out that "Straight-to-Video" quality. Or lack thereof. If he edited this as if were made in the 80's, and not with all the editing tricks of today, it would have felt like a lesser 80's Carpenter film. And as uninspiring as that sounds, it's hopeful at the same time. Meaning, all he would have to do is find that perfect script and he's golden. If his direction was sharp in this, I would totally give it more points. But it wasn't. Sharp direction with a poor script, is Michael Bay. Bash the guy all you want, but he knows how to make a movie. Knows pacing. Knows shots. Knows how to ecenomically make a film. A story? Not so much. Unfortunately with Carpenter, he cant choose a good script or direct as well as he could before. And another sad fact about The Ward is that he didnt score it. And it's not the first time he hasn't scored a film of his, but maybe it would have given it some more of that Carpenter feel. But granted, one of the best things about the film was SOME of the music. And I say "SOME" because there were little sections that I loved, but mostly were just that annoying mesh of sounds and kinda-almost-music. I hate that.

And the end. Well. Im not going to "ruin" it. But halfway through I thought, "Please dont be that It's ___ in _____ head" ending. Hope I didnt ruin it for you. Because I totally didnt expect it. At all. Not. One. Bit. Like, at all. Ugh. I really expected more from Carpenter. Really? The ending in which was popular 5 years ago? It's not even like he hopped on the band wagon. He hopped on a band wagon that lost it's wheels years ago.

Does the movie suck? I guess not? But is it good by any means? I guess not. It's one of those. And I still cant decide which is worse. I love John Carpenter. I always will. He's made some of my all-time favorite movies. And he seems like a real great down-to-earth guy that I would blow my whole paycheck on, to buy him countless rounds of booze and countless packs of smokes, but I dont know if he has it anymore, as a film maker. When I heard Romero was making whatever "... Of the Dead" film a year or two ago (I honestly forget what it was called, thats how bad his career has gotten), but when I heard about his film announcement, I didnt really even pay attention. But Carpenter? You bet your ass I was on it. I followed the film with every story that was ran. But then it got a shit-release. And unlike The Beaver, I guess I can understand why. The movie was not good. But can you give the greatest horror film maker a shot? Even if the movie sucks, give him a good run. I never thought you could get worse than STV (Straight-to-Video). But you can... VOD (Video-on-Demand). And that's what The Ward has gotten. John Carpenter, the man who made HALLOWEEN, is now VOD film director.

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